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Halmahera–Cenderawasih languages


Halmahera–Cenderawasih languages

South Halmahera – West New Guinea
The Maluku Islands in the Halmahera Sea, and the region of Cenderawasih Bay
Linguistic classification: Austronesian
Glottolog: sout2850[1]
The Halmahera–Cenderawasih languages (red). The group at left is the Halmahera Sea languages; the one at right is the Cenderawasih Bay. (The black line is the Wallace Line.)

The Halmahera–Cenderawasih languages, or South Halmahera – West New Guinea (SHWNG) languages, are a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian, found in the islands and along the shores of the Halmahera Sea in the Indonesian province of North Maluku and of Cenderawasih Bay in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The unity of Halmahera–Cenderawasih is well supposed. They are traditionally said to be most closely related to the Oceanic languages, but there is little evidence for this view.

Most of the languages are only known from short word lists, but Buli on Halmahera, and Biak and Waropen in Cenderawasih Bay, are fairly well attested.


The traditional classification of the languages is into two geographic groups,

However, the unity of the South Halmahera and Raja Ampat languages is supported by phonological changes noted in Blust 1978 and by Bert Remijsen, the principal researcher of the Raja Ampat languages. This results in the following structure:[2]


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Halmahera–Cenderawasih". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Raja Ampat–South Halmahera". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
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